Jesus, this week has been a bad one. A pre-apocalyptic sense of inevitable full-spectrum doom seems to have gripped The West, for whatever that epithet is worth anymore. Asymmetrical hooligan warfare and the ISIS-inspired stabbing of a police chief in France, vicious and desperate Brexit vitriol and the ugly killing of Labour MP Joe Cox all combined in an atmosphere of degeneration and angry futility. The Trumpification of civilization has spread like terminal gangrene across the Atlantic and is bringing out the savages in all of us, and the last straw for the full of manifestation of this disease may well have been Orlando.
So that quivering blancmange in Versaille has gone and done what he’s been threatening to do for quite a while and extended the state of emergency laws until the end of July. While it remains secret to what degree the new powers actually aided the subsequent manhunt for those hate-spewing, murderous scum, they have certainly found extra-curricular deployment against climate change activists and demonstators against the labour law reforms.
This latest renewal is ostensibly to provide sufficient security for the Tour de France and the UEFA 2016 (the threats to which have been the subject of near-daily fear mongering) and is rumoured to be the last. I have my doubts — the dangers of state of exception legislation are perhaps the only debate in which ‘Hitler’ is in fact a legitimate point — but in this particular instance the issue has been oddly well covered by the New York Times. As such, Hollande’s amassing of executive power is not the main topic of today’s rant. Instead, a rhetorical trend that caught my ire in January and has since refused to go away: ‘The New Normal.’
It might at this point seem like I’m viciously and unfairly picking on the UK’s Tory government in general and Davie & May in particular. If so, this piece will do nothing to dispell that notion.
To be fair, it’s not that I don’t have something against those two — I do, and I will continue to viciously and unfairly pick on them — but in the specific thematic context of this project they really have outdone others to say dangerous and scary things about the function and production of security.
The weather has been foul, that kind of sodden killjoy grey that makes one want to drink heavily until the sun comes out again. While contemplating my poison I decided to at least attempt a pretense at work ethic and watch Person of Interest, mainly because a couple of years ago David Cameron said this:
“I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There’s hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device.”
Today’s little dive into the voodoo of security reason comes curtesy of three particularly arresting quotes made by British officials in the last weeks. The first, in which David Cameron brings existential depression to PPE lecturers, really deserves to be flayed on the rack of mean-spirited and hermeneutically vicious public excoriation in all its heinous dimensions:
“And in a world where people look at the threat of Islamist extremism and blame poverty or the foreign policy of the west, we need to say: no, it’s about an ideology that is hijacking Islam for its own barbaric purposes and poisoning the minds of young people.
And just as Europe has faced down dangerous and murderous ideologies in the past.”